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The 5 Best Telephoto Lenses For Sony Cameras (Reviewed)

Sony is what we consider one of the big dogs in the camera industry. It leads the mirrorless segment with its Alpha series, a lineup that is known for offering Mirrorless flagships.

In today’s article we are not talking about Sony nor their cameras, but their lenses instead.

To cut some chase, in this article I have rounded up what I feel are the best telephoto lens for Sony cameras.

A Quick Look At My Favorite Telephoto Lenses For Sony

Best Value
Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens

Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens

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Best for Sports
Sigma 150-600mm F5/-6.3 DG DN

Sigma 150-600mm F5/-6.3 DG DN

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Best for Group Photos
Sony Alpha 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS

Sony Alpha 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS

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Best for Wildlife
Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS

Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS

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Best For Portraits
Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS

Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS

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Key Takeaways

  • Since Sony cameras are of such high quality, why not get telephoto lenses to extend the focal length of those fantastic cameras?
  • My ideal choice in this situation would be the Sony Alpha 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS lens because I adore taking group photographs.
  • I strongly recommend the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS if you enjoy exploring and want to capture some incredible nature moments.
  • Two essential elements in photography are the focal length and aperture.

For most photographers, a telephoto zoom lens is going to be an essential tool in their kit. You will be using it to shoot portraits, sports, wildlife, landscapes, and much more subjects.

The Top 5 Best Telephoto Lenses For Sony Cameras

5. Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens – Best Value

What I Like

  • Great telephoto optics
  • Moisture, dust, and fluorine protection
  • Full-frame optics
  • Lockable zoom clutch
  • Amazing stabilization

What I Don’t Like

  • Dim aperture limits low-light use

Starting things with a reasonably priced, attractive, and solidly telephoto lens from Tamron, the 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens.

With a zoom range that starts at 150mm and goes up to a whopping 500m, this lens covers a wide range of uses, it delivers perfectly what a general-purpose telephoto lens needs to do. Wild photography is the type that makes use of telephoto zoom lenses the most since you want to capture images of distant subjects, rendered in a wide/large frame.

Besides that this focal length range is also ideal for headshot portraits. People taking part in sports events make great subjects for this lens since you are not allowed to get into the field and take up-close photos.

It comes with Tamron image stabilization, VC (Vibration Compensation, which is an extremely valuable feature in any lens, especially on a telephoto lens. Besides increasing the versatility it also contributes to AutoFocus.

The VC on the Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens noise is almost non-existent, you will hear a low hum only if you put your ear close to the lens which also helps on keeping the viewfinder image free of jumping and drifting.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight: 4.14 pounds
  • Maximum Aperture:f/5
  • Maximum Focal Length: 500 millimeters
  • Minimum Aperture : 0
  • Minimum Focal Length: 150 millimeters
  • Number of Aperture Blades: 7

Why should you buy it?

You will need a telephoto lens to be part of your kit, sooner or later and the Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens, which comes at a reasonable price while offering a great design and focal range, might be a great contender.

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Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Sample Photos

4. Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens – Best for Sports

What I Like

  • Two zoom tension settings
  • Sharp results across the zoom range
  • Great stabilization
  • Dust, splash, and fluorine protection

What I Don’t Like

  • Only works with L-mount teleconverters

Another great option from this lens class makes it on the list, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens.

Since its debut, this lens from sigma took the market by storm and is one of the best-selling telephoto zoom lenses across all platforms.

It has a zoom range that starts at 150mm and goes to an ultra-telephoto one of 600mm, this lens covers many general-purpose needs. Sigma is billed as an ideal choice for zoo and safari thanks to its wide and great capabilities.

As for image stabilization, it has the OS (Optical Stabilization ) that plays an important role in boosting this lens among the competition. Not only does it increase the versatility of the Sigma but also helps in getting a better focus. It operates silently that even a feline is not capable of hearing it.

Another thing that is swift and quiet, is the AF actuator that is controlled by a stepping motor, the lens combines a magnetic sensor that offers accurate positioning for a fast precise AF.

Since this is a 600mm lens, I think you should also get a tripod that can handle 600mm lens.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight: 4.63 pounds
  • Maximum Aperture: 6.3 millimeters
  • Maximum Focal Length: 600
  • Minimum Aperture: 22
  • Minimum Focal Length: 150
  • Number of Aperture Blades: 9

Why should you buy it?

If this lens does not produce at least a reasonable image quality, no photographer will buy it, right? Well, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports Lens offers more than “reasonable”, so you know what to do now.

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Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sample Photos

3. Sony Alpha 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS – Best for Group Photos

What I Like

  • Compact all-weather zoom
  • Sharp results
  • Excellent stabilization
  • Sturdy build
  • 1:1.3 macro focus

What I Don’t Like

  • Relatively dim aperture

The Sony Alpha 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS is a great affordable 5x ultra-telephoto zoom from Sony’s range of APS-c mirrorless cameras, for example, the flagship, Sony A6600.

It is equipped with a customizable focus hold button and it also has a zoom lock switch while it is capable of withstanding dust and moisture.

Although it comes at an affordable price, the build of this lens is surprisingly good. It is made entirely of high-quality plastic with a metal lens mount.

Sony has employed an iris diaphragm with seven aperture blades to contribute to pleasing out-of-focus highlights, which we know as the bokeh effect. It also boasts a built-in image stabilization; and when it comes to auto-focusing, the Sony Alpha 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS is a quick performer, something we can expect from Sony.

Their uncanny auto-focus is what made the competition shiver in fear. As far as range goes it sits comfortably between 70mm to 300mm.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.38 lbs
  • Maximum Aperture: 4.5 millimeters
  • Maximum Focal Length: 350
  • Minimum Aperture : 0
  • Minimum Focal Length: 70
  • Number of Aperture Blades: 7

Why should you buy it?

There’s nothing groundbreaking to hate on this lens, besides things like being slow in max aperture, but as I said that’s nothing to worry about.

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Sony Alpha 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS Sample Photos

2. Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS – Best for Wildlife

What I Like

  • In-lens stabilization
  • Adjustable zoom tension
  • Sturdy build
  • Focus hold and limit functions

What I Don’t Like

  • Extends when zoomed

The Sony Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS, is a telephoto zoom lens that has a nice focal range that rewards sport and nature photographers.

The GM on its name implies that is a lens of the G series, only those lenses from Sony that meets the highest optical and mechanical requirements are entitled to that.

It is dust and also splash-proof made out of a robust alloy. This lens screams premium in all kinds of aspects. It has a Nano AR coating on the glass surfaces and an extra fluorine coating.

With a great range of focal length, it doesn’t leave behind the great optical image stabilizer that is driven by a linear motor; it has what Sony Calls 5-axis image stabilization. Focus on this bad boy is internal so nothing moves externally and no air or dust sucks in.

Real-time feedback from multiple position sensors gives this lens the chance to operate at full capacity. While the manual focus ring is merely an encoder to the camera’s computer meaning it will only focus the lens if you put it in the MF mode.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight: 3.08 lbs
  • Maximum Aperture:f/5.6
  • Maximum Focal Length: 400
  • Minimum Aperture: 32
  • Minimum Focal Length: 100
  • Number of Aperture Blades: 9

Why should you buy it?

If you can bypass the painful price, or if the price is not a problem for you, in return you get a premium lens that is perfectly built, despite being a telephoto lens it is relatively lightweight and compact. Its usage of it is also buttery smooth and the optical image stabilization works seamlessly.

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Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS Sample Photos

1. Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS – Best For Portraits

What I Like

  • Image stabilization
  • Full-frame coverage
  • Very sharp
  • Well built

What I Don’t Like

  • Some distortion

Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS is a great telephoto zoom lens from Sony that was made for Full frame compact cameras.

Weighing in at 840g and the aluminum alloy finish make this one heavy fella, guess it is a bit ironic here since it was designed with compact cameras in mind. Nevertheless, the build quality is excellent and it has a sealed dust and moisture-resistant design, making it perfect for both nature and the studio.

Given the price, it is obvious that it features optical image stabilization, which together with a flagship’s built-in stabilization can achieve insane stabilization. At the 70mm focal length the angle of view is 34 degrees and at 200mm at 12 degrees.

As far as Auto-focusing goes, the Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS performs greatly in a quiet and quick way, it takes about 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject.

The bokeh effect is incredibly appealing thanks to the iris diaphragm that has 9 rounded blades.

Key Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.85 lbs
  • Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
  • Maximum Focal Length: 200 millimeters
  • Minimum Aperture : 0
  • Minimum Focal Length: 70
  • Number of Aperture Blades: 9

Why should you buy it?

Although it might be heavy and bulky, it takes stunning photos. The F4 aperture pretty much rewards you with x-ray vision when it comes to shooting through things like fences and the autofocus is really quick and nice.

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Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS Sample Photos

2 Key Things you need to know:

The lens is great equipment for a camera, they give a lot of versatility and help you a lot to switch between the types of photographs.

Since the topic is about telephoto zoom lenses, let’s elaborate on them together.

A telephoto lens increases the focal length and it is mostly used to shoot far away objects with accurate perspective and with a level of precision that results in a detailed picture that is possible only with close-up angle photography.

You will spot a telephoto lens mostly in places where the photographer isn’t allowed to get close, like sports events or wildlife photography, you don’t want to get close to a lion, do you?

Focal Length in Photography

Usually, you will spot the focal length in millimeters (mm) and in the name of the lens, every lense includes its focal length on the name, that’s how photographers pick lenses.
Focal length tells us the angle of view; how much of the scene will be captured from our camera, and the magnification of how large the subject will be.

The longer the focal length is, the narrower the angle of view and the higher magnification is. And vice versa the shorter the focal length is the lower the magnification is.

Lenses that have a focal range of 70 to 200mm are considered basic telephoto lenses, while the ones with 300 to 600 are what photographers consider super telephoto lenses.

Aperture in Photography

Aperture refers to the opening of a lens’s diaphragm through where light passes. Just like the focal length you will spot the aperture on the lens’s name, it is calibrated in f/stops and is written in numbers like for example 1.4, 5.6, 2.8, etc.

The lower the F-number is the more exposure it gives since it represents a large aperture, while the higher it is the less exposure it gives, because it represents a small aperture.
This might be complicated at first, but you get used to it with time and experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a telephoto lens?

Lenses come in different types, and one of the main ones is telephoto types of lenses. A telephoto lens is a type of lens that has a longer focal length than some lenses you may have seen, and they bring a narrower field and a better-magnified image.

Can Sony cameras be used with any lens?

Sony cameras are known as the cameras that work with any type of lens, but still, you might want to check out the mountings that lenses, in general, have. If it doesn’t fit your Sony camera, there are adapters that can be used. All in all, Sony cameras work with different lenses.

Are telephoto lenses expensive?

Telephoto lenses are indeed very expensive! Still, there is a reason for that. Considering the fact that telephoto lenses bring the subject super close to your camera, this lens requires many pieces of glass, and there is a lot of work.

Final Words:

The industry of lenses is a minefield. There are tons of lenses offered on the market, and all of them differ from each other. What a photographer finds great, might not be great for you. Or if a wildlife photographer is happy with his telephoto lens doesn’t mean that you will be happy with one too. It highly depends on your camera type, budget, and mostly the field you are photographing.

Hopefully, you liked my article regarding the best telephoto lens for Sony cameras.

Goodbye, until the next article.